Gauteng

In Church Square, Pretoria, stands a statue of President Paul Kruger flanked by four bronze sculptures of Boers. They spent nearly twenty years, from 1902 to 1921, in England before being returned to South Africa eventually to take up their position on the square in 1954. The general belief has been that Lord Kitchener, Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in South Africa from 1901 to the end of the war ‘stole’ these statues as ‘spoils of war’.

In the article below, journalist Lucille Davie unpacks the history behind the signing of the Freedom Charter. The article was first published on the City of Joburg's website on the 24 June 2005Click here to view more of Davie's work.

Nelson Mandela was there. Walter Sisulu was there. Helen Joseph was there. Father Trevor Huddleston was there. So were 3 000 ordinary citizens, demanding a better life for all under a new, non-discriminatory dispensation.

Having graduated with the double Bachelor's degree MB Bch in 1959 after 6 years of study, I was now a brand-new Doctor.

The Medical training program at the time called for 2 more years of practical work under supervision, in a teaching hospital of one's choice before being officially qualified to practice. This was a bit like an Apprenticeship but called an Internship. Ironically we were not called Interns but Housemen or House Surgeons.

Which of our city’s architectural treasures don’t receive the credit they deserve? During lockdown we explored Joburg’s most underrated historic buildings on our Instagram and Facebook pages, and we’re happy to share them here too! 

Ahead of the annual Youth Month anniversary on June 16, a heritage plaque will commemorate Mbuyisa Makhubu, one of the most tragic victims of the mass shooting by police of protesting students in 1976.  

Aged 18, Mbuyisa became the most recognised face of the Soweto student revolt, after his agonised figure was shown around the world carrying the murdered Hector Pieterson in the iconic image by journalist Sam Nzima. Mbuyisa picked up Hector Pieterson when he was mortally wounded, and took him to the nearest clinic.

EBay has on sale a medal to commemorate the declaration of Johannesburg as a city in 1928. I was immediately intrigued. I have never seen one of these medals but I am not a collector of such items. An internet search reveals that this medal is not regarded as rare but that prices fluctuate from as little as R45 to about $10 to as much as £18. It is a bronze medal.

 

This commemorative booklet on the life of General Jan Christiaan Smuts was found at the Hospice Witwatersrand charity shop on Louis Botha Avenue, Orange Grove, about two years ago. The sale of donated items helps Hospice Witwatersrand fund their hospice activities throughout Gauteng. The Orange Grove charity shop is a place where one can discover a wide range of interesting and useful items, and often, the items donated reflect a by-gone era. Having visited the Smuts House Museum in Irene on several occasions over the years, I decided this was the obvious place t

In 1920, St John’s College was still in its infancy. The school had been established in 1898 as a parish school of St Mary’s Anglican Church in downtown Johannesburg. Soon afterwards, the social upheaval caused by the Anglo-Boer South African War (1899-1902) – including the evacuation of many civilians from Johannesburg and the deportation of the school’s headmaster by the Boer authorities – had necessitated the closure of the school for some eighteen months.

JC Smuts was born on the farm Bovenplaats, part of Ongegund near Riebeek West, in the then Cape Colony, and what is now the Western Cape, to parents Jacobus Abraham and Catharina Petronella (nee de Vries) on 24 May 1870.

 

There is no document to give an exact date, but the hill sign at Little Falls was built in the 1920s in accordance to the fashion of the time, to display signs to the new-fangled flying machines that were becoming popular after World War I.

The sign was built above the already popular swimming resort of Little Falls, on the site of the Geldenhuys, and later the Struben, homestead.

 

Contrary to popular belief, the ‘Spanish’ influenza pandemic of 1918 (which is thought to have caused as many as 50 million deaths globally) did not originate in Spain. Historians and epidemiologists are uncertain about the origins of the disease, which killed more people than had perished in the First World War, which was in its final phase when the pandemic struck. Various hypotheses have been advanced to explain the origins and spread of the 1918 flu. For example, it has been posited that the disease originated in military camps in France, the United Kingdom o

Herbert Maurice John Prins, distinguished architect, professional conservation and heritage architect and practitioner passed away on Wednesday, 15th April 2020, just 12 days short of his 93rd birthday. His was a long, rich and remarkably productive life. Herbert was a role model in his work and ongoing commitment to the heritage of Johannesburg and other parts of South Africa until just a couple of months before his death. It was a joy to celebrate his 90th birthday in 2017. His professional career extended over 72 years - surely a record.

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